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We live in a technologically savvy, information-heavy age. Nearly everyone actively enrolled in the educational system at this point has grown up in a world that was steeped in electronics, the internet, and a user-centric design experience that’s been endlessly marketed to them to meet their own personal thoughts, beliefs, and desires.
The challenge, then, is how those that provide or work for e-learning platforms can keep up with the ever-evolving online landscape in order to keep their offerings up to date, effective, and compelling to those who are considering joining them in their online classrooms.
The Expectations of the Digital Age
There’s more to running a successful online e-learning operation than simply using the cloud and providing a virtual classroom. Here are several different things that digital-age students and learners, in general, expect at this point from an e-learning platform that they invest their time and money into.
An Adaptable Approach
The first thing that a modern e-learning company should consider is adaptability. Sitting still is not an option these days as technology continually develops at breakneck speeds. For instance, flip phones were a big deal a couple of decades ago, then smartphones made them irrelevant. MySpace was humming along until Facebook arrived on the scene and showed us what a truly adaptable social platform looks like. Apps are in one day and then quickly become obsolete as session lengths decrease.
The point is, students are looking for platforms that will identify changes and proactively shift to the ever-evolving technological landscape. A healthy educational online platform needs to be poised to continually adapt, changing each time the technology makes it necessary to do so.
A good business interaction has become one that revolves not just around the quality of a product or service, but the experience that it delivers. This isn’t an exaggeration, either. The Harvard Business Review defined an experience provided by a business as “when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as the props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”
In other words, a modern e-learning platform isn’t just providing the tools to learn, they’re investing in providing a memorable learning experience, as well.
One rather obvious thing that digital-age learners will certainly be on the lookout for is the flashy application of modern technology in the online classroom. E-learning platforms with the capability to use things like augmented and virtual reality within their studies are certainly going to attract more attention.
This can be (and already is) used within all sorts of traditional programs, too. For instance, one survey from Wolters Kluwer estimated that 65% of nursing education programs already utilize virtual simulations in one form or another. Augmented reality is also being applied to allow medical students to learn about bodies, cutting out the need for cadavers in the process.
Along with the latest technology, e-learning students are likely going to be looking for cutting-edge classes, as well. In the modern world, no subject remains untouched by progress for long. Whether you’re talking about 3D printing impacting healthcare, automation affecting supply chains, or drones revolutionizing the real estate industry, things are always changing at break-neck speeds.
A perfect example of a modern educational course that is extremely valuable today (and hardly existed a decade or two ago) is in the field of big data and analytics. Courses that teach students how to use big data tools, find key performance indicators, and more can give them a unique advantage throughout their careers.
Adaptive Learning and Competency-Based Education
Another trend that has become more or less expected in the digital age is the application of education that takes the learner into account over a prescribed curriculum. In other words, modern e-learning programs should find ways to incorporate learning that is based on the pace of the students themselves.
Adaptive learning, as the name implies, creates a unique approach to learning on a case-by-case basis, tailoring that approach to a student’s individual strengths, goals, and weaknesses. Competency-based education also embraces the uniqueness of each student, pacing their education according to their own skills, knowledge, and natural learning styles.
Finally, it’s important to keep up appearances. Once upon a time, websites needed to be given a makeover every few years. Now online trends and appearances change nearly every year, and sometimes even more often than that. Make sure that you’re keeping your e-learning platform attractive, updated, and fresh. Tend to things like colors, fonts, and quality images throughout your online offerings.
Designing an E-learning Platform With Modern Expectations
There are many ways to go about tailoring an e-learning platform in order to attract modern learners. While traditional methods — even within the short history of online education — are rapidly falling by the wayside, simple efforts can be taken to keep a platform attractive and up to date.
Things like design aesthetic, big data analytics, and adaptability are key. Creating an entire e-learning experience is also a critical component of digital age expectations. In addition, it’s important to incorporate cutting-edge modern technology and educational methods like:
- Virtual reality.
- Augmented reality.
- Competency-based education.
- Adaptive learning.
These can help to keep your educational classes and offerings attractive to the modern user, allowing you to establish yourself as an innovative option that attracts students from every walk of life.